Why Did Google Advertise at The Super Bowl?

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The armchair noobs go:

  • "Ohhh Google's scared by the competition!"
  • "Oh noes, they're advertising now! They're scared of Bing!"
  • "They're going to die!"

Google's not scared; advertising to the world in 60 seconds just let it pound its competitors further.

Google is still gaining market share, capturing a leading 67% of search queries (compared to Bing's 10%), and with a Dream Team of search experts (and several billions of dollars in free cash flow at its disposal to invest further in search), Google won't lose its leading position anytime soon.

Why Did Google Advertise?

When you see an ad, you like the company behind the ad a little more; that's called the exposure effect; it's a reason why:

  • We'd rather hang out with Friend A than Friend B because we see Friend A more than Friend B.
  • We prefer living at our homes more than living anywhere else because we're more familiar with our homes.
  • We're more interested in Lady Gaga than Selena Gomez because gossip magazines expose Lady Gaga more to us.

We're more fond of GEICO than any other insurer because we recall its ads more than any other insurer's; every GEICO ad strengthens our relationship with GEICO.

  • Likewise, every exposure/contact/referral to Google strengthens our relationship with Google.

Google Spends Big on Marketing

Peeps who haven't read Google's 10Ks or its quarterly reports might not realize that Google has always marketed heavily, spending 70% as much of its money on sales & marketing as it does on engineering (and has more people in sales and marketing than any other division, including engineering).

  • If you're a nobody, advertising lets you capture an audience; if you're a market leader like Google, Budweiser, or Coca Cola, advertising lets you reinforce your position, keeping competitors from chipping into your lead.

A company that avoids sales and marketing won't reach its full potential; a company that avoids sales and marketing will kill itself when heavily-marketed competitors reach out and steal its target customers.

Yes, a great product that can market itself is supremely ideal; but, coupling a great product that can market itself with great advertising/marketing/sales will attract the masses.

Building great, multinational, billion-dollar companies takes advertising; likewise, building sustainable companies on a smaller scale takes advertising.

Advertising is good.

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Posted on February 08

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